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Allan Sloan & Geoff Colvin News/Business. (2012) Fortune Magazine Senior Editors at Large Allan Sloan and Geoff Colvin speak about their cover story, 'Hey Washington Enough Already!' New.

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Washington 10, United States 6, Allan Sloan 5, U.s. 5, Us 5, Geoff 4, New York 4, Geoff Colvin 4, South Dakota 3, Brooklyn 2, Canada 2, Cal 1, Elektra 1, Idiotic 1, Newsweek 1, Apocalypse 1, Mccain 1, Allan 1, Nick Clegg 1, Colvin 1,
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  CSPAN    Q A    Allan Sloan & Geoff Colvin  News/Business.  (2012) Fortune  
   Magazine Senior Editors at Large Allan Sloan and Geoff...  

    September 30, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00pm EDT  

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allan sloan and geoff colvin, senior editors at large for "fortune" magazine followed by deputy british prime minister nick clegg and later, speeches on egypt and palestine. cal[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> this week on "q&a," geoff colvin and allan sloan. >> allan sloan, you and geoff colvin did a piece that was transferred to "the washington post" and ed had a headline on it, the gum but enough already." -- " enough already."
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>> we have been we that -- we have been at endlessly annoyed with no progress in washington. on anything. it was decided since there was not going to be any intelligent conversation, we proposed solutions. we sat down and wrote it. >> how did you go about it? >> it was simple. we decided a smart thing was to get off the premises. the two of us went a couple blocks down sixth avenue and were just by ourselves. we went to the big issues here. we found that even though we do not agree, and we come from opposite perspectives, we were able, in a short time, to reach general agreement on a few principles that were the biggest and most important ones. thatarger point here is
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within washington, there is broad agreement on what the financial problems of the country are, and on the solutions, and that nothing can be done. it is the most insane situation. >> how do you to defer? -- two differ? >> we did not do it in the peace. it is carefully written so you cannot tell which one liens which direction. the way we are seated is the opposite of the way we are. i am not to the left of allen. he is not to the right of me. it is the reverse. >> what about economics? what are your basic thoughts? >> i am a recovering english major. i never studied economics. i was cast out into the world to
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write about this by accident. i went out and try to learn with no preconceptions, with no courses, with no graduate degree. i can add and subtract. it is not that hard if you just do that. i do not have preconceptions. i do not hate people. i do not hang out with federal reserve people. or the opposite. i just wander around through life to figure it out. >> are you a fall or -- follower? >> important points. economists will tell you for the most part they agree on 98% of economics. i think that is correct. it is the 2% that they do not agree on where all the important policy decisions have to get made. i am not much --
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for those who are not paying a lot of attention to economics, it means i am something close to the monetarist view, something the austrian school. i am not all the way in that camp. >> what does it mean? what is the practical meaning? >> it has a strong practical meaning now. the stimulus program, was it a good idea? some will say yes. the other side would say it was not a good idea. it will not work. my view would be i do not think it was a good idea and allan and
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i disagree violently, that is the practical meaning of it in today's by a rigid environment. >> how do you disagree? >> i think we need to stimulate the economy. i do not think we need to do what we did. i would have, instead of subsidizing public employee jobs, my friends are public employees. that was a big part of the stimulus. i would have started also at this construction. i would have tried to finish this tunnel from new jersey into new york, which would be a huge value all over the region. i would have done it differently. again, since i do not have a degree in economics and do not want one, would not take it they gave it to me, i am just trying to apply common sense.
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common sense was needed to do something to shock the system. that is bright not -- pragmatic economics. how i do not agree to the right thing. it was better than nothing. geoff probably disagrees. >> we have a long article on our site.ites so people can a "america's leaders are not leading. the children would rather stand their feet and hold their breath than solve momentous issues of economic policy. the games are childish and the resulting suffering is serious." pick it up from there. i named nine things you want to change after the election. >> that is right. we are in a situation where we
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are facing fiscal disaster. that is not an over dramatic. you can look at these charts. they are easy to find online. do a little surge. congressional budget office. treasury. we are facing fiscal disaster. the debt of the united states, the budget, on its current trajectory, will bankrupt the country if we do not do something. >> what is the worst that could happen? >> what almost happened last summer when the 80th, the republican idiots, and decided we can have the country defaults on its debt and that would be fine. if you have ever been a banking reporter, which i have, if there is anything resembling a default on u.s. debt, it is a disaster worldwide. i thought we had learned something from that a year ago.
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apparently, we have not. the worst thing that happens is a u.s. default on its debt. it would be catastrophic. for no reason, idiotic. it is crazy. >> what is the result? >> every bank in the united states, every major bank, is bankrupt. suddenly, your capital is gone. a lot of capital is tied up in government securities. >> what happens if i go to the bank and what my money? >> it might or may not still be there. it is not like the banks would close. they would not be able to land. -- lend. it was like four years ago where you were facing massive bank failures. you still get your money but you would not get a loan. your company might not be able to pay you. the soundest companies in the
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world could not borrow money. >> there is not enough money. >> of course not. we are talking trillions of dollars. i am not saying a united states the fault is tomorrow. connecticut -- bankamerica would end and j.p. morgan would close their doors and got a business. but it is a serious hit into commerce, or what remains of commerce. it is crazy. >> the larger problem here is we need to make very substantial changes in the tax and budget regime we have. very serious changes that will hurt. so nobody wants to do it. the worst thing that happened is we do not do any of them until we have a crisis, a really horrible crisis, and defaulted on the debt would be pretty bad
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if it were allowed to happen for more than a day or two. a horrible crisis can happen in other ways. for example, and this is something we really have to pay more attention to, the previous 10 leaders of the council of economic advisers -- maybe it was more -- from both parties, last year, jointly signed an open letter to congress and the administration saying, if we do not get this situation under control, one day, and no one knows when it will be, but for sure, one day, the bond market, all the people and institutions in the world to lend that money to the united states, will demand a higher interest rate. it will go up and up and up. when it does, what they said was we will have a financial crisis that will make the 2008 financial crisis look small.
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that is the real danger. >> one quick thing. a lack at the republicans -- all the ok a whack at republicans. >> what you are really will walk -- what you are willing to do, no one really knows until the final moment. in this case, when it came to the final moment, the default was averted. i cannot blame either side. it is a negotiation. i blame them both. go to some solutions you have. you have proposed a number of changes that could occur after the election. we could restrict the end of life care. how? >> that is just what you do.
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i will not tell you the specifics because i do not know them. i and geoff and many people watching this have seen what happens when people you love get old and sick and end up in the hospital using vast amounts of money because hospitals are expensive and it is the end of life and they will not make it and they will not have a life. an enormous amount of money is expended. it is huge. everybody knows it but nobody will talk about it. >> it accounts for a huge proportion of total medicare spending. by the way, one reason is the first thing in our article is getting medicare costs under control is the number one priority. it is the most untouchable thing. but that will cause more trouble than any other problem we have
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got fiscally in the united states. getting medicare costs under control is the number one thing. >> you say we also surcharge smokers and the obese for their medicare coverage. where did that idea come from? >> it came from us. i am the person who put it in the memo. i did not have to fight very hard for it. i ran into this in the washington post, where instead of calling people morbidly obese, i called the mega fatties -- them mega fatties. i was rebuked for being insensitive, which i guess i am. this is another thing where everyone knows it to be true and some has to pay for it. i am not saying you should bankrupt people if they are too heavy. but there should be penalties. i am not really a democrat, but a democrat compared to him. you have to be responsible to
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some extent for your personal behavior. someone has to pay for it. >> we should point out, also, that we are not the only ones making arguments like this. there have been other bipartisan commissions and so forth. a democrat and republican also said that with regard to medicare, we need to do something about the obese and smokers. they also had a proposal, which was more complicated than ours, for restricting spending on and of life care. -- end of life care3. . these are difficult decisions but we have to face them. >> if you weigh x pounds, medicare would cut it off? >> this is why the lord created experts. i am not an expert. i am skinnier than i was but i do not know.
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>> insurance companies manage to handle this kind of thing. it is feasible. they will give you a medical exam before they sell use certain kinds of insurance. they look at your rate, heart rate, blood sugar, and other things, and use it to set your rate. we can do this. it is feasible. >> you say social security should be a pay-as-you-go system, wiping out the deceptive social security trust fund. what is that? >> yes. anytime anybody mentions to you the social security trust fund, unless they are telling you it is meaningless, which it is, then they are probably all pleading you a strike. >> why is it meaningless? >> because the social security trust fund be invested in u.s. treasury securities. it means that, when the social security trust these go to the treasury to redeem one of their
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treasury bonds,
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-- department knows that. >> the word sequester. i have had people say what does that mean? it will be a disaster for our national security. >> i do not pretend to know. " cutbacks in social security and medicare, those were things i threw into the pot. geoff, he threw in the defense budget. i would not have thought of it because it is so untouchable. what will happen? i do not know.
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but, i think we have to be spending too much money given what the rest of the world spends. >> what you think of the elected officials in this country, from your position? >> i think some of them are wonderful. a lot of them are trying to do the right thing and which they could. i think a lot of them feel trapped by the forces that worked in the society that force them to distain compromise, to treat politics as warfare, which it did not use today. -- use to be. i think most of them, not all,
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but most of them, in their heart of hearts, would be willing and happy to compromise. but they do not feel they can if they want to be reelected. >> i agree with him. >> everything he said? >> this time. >> one side better than the other? >> that is not the question. the question is is one side worse. >> are they different? >> yes. you could are there -- you could argue either way. i am not here to talk about the problems. it is not what i want to talk about. i am not into politics. i will just right with geoff. otherwise, i would get in serious trouble. >> let me go back to the list. "fortune magazine," he said this. our tax code is tracking the nation down. "broaden the base and lower the
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rates." >> the great thing about this is that this is, as a general principle, a dead center, middle of the road idea. this is something both sides in principle can agree on and they will fight over the details. we had the simpson-bowles commission. the chairman jointly said exactly this. broaden the base, lower the rates. bipartisan, this was said again. in those words. >> get to the details. what does it mean? >> very simple. we get rid of all kinds of deductions, exemptions, credits, special breaks in the tax code today. we get a read -- we get rid of a lot of them. by doing so, we lower the tax rates that are applied to everybody else.
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>> the reality is if we have what i half expect to happen, which is a big crisis that scares everybody, including the zealots on both sides, and the real zealotry is coming from the republican party, but the democrats are not prices. we need to grow up and do this. we want to say what should happen and these are things that everybody knows who has studied this seriously, but nobody wants to say. it should happen. >> how bad a crisis will it take before the leaders in washington can agree on a big compromise? >> people have been predicting in your line of work around the world that there will be a
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catastrophe. serious people say we are headed toward a catastrophe. is that possible? >> of course. the question is is it likely and what kind is it? i am 67 years old. i have worked my whole life. i have saved. i have been thrifty. i have been a good boy. no matter what happens, i will survive. my wife and i will survive financially. >> no matter what happens? >> is a meteor comes. -- if a meteor comes. [laughter] i am not into apocalypse. i have studied religion. i am not into apocalypse. i do not know what will happen. i think just like four years ago where people got scared enough
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to do something, you can argue about whether we did the right thing, to save the system from collapse, we will save the system from collapse the next time, as well. the only way to fix the thing and not have these recurring problems is to do the things we are talking about. >> the catastrophe is certainly possible. my own view is that it is unlikely. it is possible, but i think the probability is pretty low. the greater probability is that unemployment remains at a fairly high level kind of like it is today, that economic growth remains at a slow rate like it is today, that living standards do not rise. it is not a nice scenario. frankly, i think it looks -- it
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could be improved on by some bold, big-picture action. >> i want to find out where you two are from and how you got to where you are. geoff colvin, where did you start in life? >> i was born in south dakota. a wonderful place. i still say i was incredibly lucky to have grown up where and when i did. the family moved a little bit but we were always midwesterners. >> what did your parents do? >> it was interesting. my father owned a printing business in south dakota. in the middle of his career, he decided to change his career completely. he sold his business. he went back to school and got a ph.d. in clinical psychology. the second half of his career was on the factory of a medical school in illinois. my mother mostly work to home
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until the kids were out of college, at which point she went to law school and the second half of her life was spent working as a lawyer. she practiced law. >> when did you leave south dakota? >> moved away when i was 14 years old. i finished high school in southern illinois. it is where my father was on the faculty. then i went off to college, went to harvard, majored in economics, and came down to new york. i worked briefly for the founder and chairman of ecs. i have been at "fortune" virtually my entire career. i have been doing short reports that are carried on. the cbs radio stations, they are
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wonderful. these are small reports. everything on news radio is short. but i do a couple of those every day. >> allan sloan? >> i am the polar offer it -- opposite. i grew up in brooklyn, new york. i went to brooklyn college. it was free. my father worked primarily for a nonprofit organization. my mom worked before they were married. after my father -- she did business out of her home, our home, when the kids were there. that is what i learned how to count. i helped her. it was heavy clerical stuff. i got to the point where i did everything in my head because it was faster. there were no calculated.
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that has been a great help to be journalistically. i do numbers in my head. it is my secret weapon. >> how many years were you at "newsweek"? >> four years. i was in detroit for seven years. all my children have michigan birth certificates. i have ended up here and there. i ended up that "newsweek" and i thought i would be there forever. that did not quite worked out. five years ago, i went to "fortune magazine." i am the opposite of geoff. it is really fun. >> let's go back to the article. when did you first start talking to one another about this? how long? >> it was not long ago. some day in august. >> the last thursday in july.
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i was going away for the month of august on vacation. thursday, our boss comes to me and says, you and geoff will do this. on friday, we had lunch and started working on it. >> has there been any strong reaction, and if so, what is it? >> we have had a tremendous amount of reaction. i cannot recall getting a reaction anything like this one in many years. we heard from a huge number of readers, most of whom were very, they said, thank heaven, the spd said. some of them did not like the proposal. we heard from them, too. we have heard from lots of readers. >> where did you have this picture taken. ? [laughter] >> it is crossing avenue of the
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americas at 51st street. >> you have straw hats on. one has a suit and tie. you are dressed in your khakis. does that say something? >> the first thing it says is that i had no idea there were going to take my picture because i was at the beach when this request comes to have the picture taken. i said to take me to my house to get a suit. they said, we do not think we want you to wear a suit. i was trapped. my wife, who is a rational, normal person, was mildly annoyed. but the only choice was that shirt. it was the best thing i had at the beach. >> one person reacts strongly,
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your wife. >> it is a nice picture. my outfit, you see i am not wearing that church today. >> let me go back to this article before we run out of time. this is the one i labeled the sixth suggestion. "the exclusion for the employer- sponsored health insurance." >> exactly right. it is the weirdest tax expenditure in the whole tax code. it makes no sense. it is a hugely valuable benefit that everybody who gets health insurance at work receives. but unlike the other things to get at work, like a salary, it is not taxed. >> $177 billion last year? >> that is how much it costs the treasury in lost tax revenue because of that provision in the
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tax code. it is very unfair. it means a health care benefit, medical insurance, costs much more for people who do not have a job and have to buy it on their own than it costs for people who do have a job. >> this is one that went he put it on the table, i gulped. as part of an overall deal, i could accept it. when mccain was except -- suggesting this years ago, i criticized it. it is part of an overall package, which i can accept. >> the next one, though. >> you are right. the next one is probably the hardest of the mall. >> "the tax deduction for mortgage donors." -- owners." >> if i were in charge, i might not want to do that. as part of an overall package, i
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think you have to. i live in a very high cost place, very high tax, housing interestre enormous, pe bills on mortgages are huge. a lot of money for a lot of friends of mine. this is not abstract. nobly, i would say i do not want this. but again, it is part of a package. >> said is critical. th -- that is critical. it is not immediately clear to a given person whether his tax would go up or down under this. in any case, it just, as a matter of logic, it makes no sense. >> how long have you spell that way? -- felt that way? >> for many years. you realize there is no logical reason for that to be a tax
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deduction. in other countries, such as canada, they do not have a tax deduction. canada did not have a housing basel -- bubble. >> did you consider this business of changes in the state, the affordable care act, as this would drop insurance? >> again, i have a daughter who is a doctor. i know more about the health insurance business than i want to know and the finances of it for reasons of we will not go into. i had real problems with the obama thing. i thought it could be have -- it could have been done much simpler. i do not understand the workings of the affordable care act. i do not understand them. i do not think anybody does.
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i do not know enough about it to have an informed opinion. rather than say something stupid, bibles in nothing. >> it is all the more reason to end this tax break to get their insurance through work. it is pretty certain that fewer people will get their insurance through work. they will have to buy it on their own. there is stuff in the affordable care act to help those who have to buy it on the ground and do not -- on their own and cannot afford it easily. let's make it across the board. >> but the back to the mortgage. i can hear it. we are in new york. i can hear the lobbyists of all those different countries -- companies that benefit. they are yelling. they are powerful. >> there are already limits on how much you can deduct. i do not know if this made it into the washington post
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version, but we said it should be phased out over time in the "fortune magazine" version. i know when i first bought houses, i calculated the deduction to figure out how much i could afford as a payment. you cannot just change the rules and hang people up because you cause them trouble and they will never get out of their houses financially alive. if you face this and do it over time, it can be made to work. there are already restrictions on how much interest you can deduct. >> you say here it should be done over time. >> is the only way that is fair to do it. >> we have a couple to go. was there any one of these you got the most reaction about? health insurance, mortgage, social security? >> i cannot say there was anyone
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we got most reaction to. i think the ones you've touched are the hottest but as, for sure. medicare is the hottest button. the mortgage interest, yes. later on, we say we should eliminate the deduction for charitable contributions. >> a tax deductions for tate -- state and local taxes and charitable gifts. explain what that is. >> if you make out a check to your church or school you went, it is a deduction. you write a check to a religious organization or any sort of nonprofit. >> all of those countries and universities will all -- no longer be? >> stop looking at me like that.
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[laughter] that is the only itemized the doctor and i get the benefit of any more. that's the only clear deduction i have. again, as part of an overall thing, i would be willing to throw that in. my father worked for nonprofits. if he was still alive, he would kill me for even suggesting this. but there are real problems in this country. we need to think about them differently than we have thought. this is not something i like, but i hope it is accepted, just lie on health care. one of the things we proposed you forgot to mention was eliminating the special treatment that investments get relative to income from work. that is something geoff had to swallow. you start out rationally.
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>> capital gains? >> yes, and dividends. >> is a sentence or something in the article. >> tie that into the fiscal cliff? do you like that term? >> a perfectly good term, in my opinion. it makes it sound dramatic and that is good because it is. >> the capital gains would go from 15 up to 20 if the bush tax cuts were allowed to expire. >> that is exactly right. >> based on watching washington, what will happen? >> what i think will happen is a short-term solution will be adopted. it will solve the problem so the cliff and does not happen. if there is still anybody who doesn't know what the cliff mean, it means taxes will go up on the fourth of january and a whole lot of government spending will be required to come down. the combination of higher taxes
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and lower government spending, a lot of people believe would tip the country back. >> do you think it is a good idea to increase taxes? >> no, i do not. as you would expect. i think the cliff will be averted, but in an unsatisfactory, short-term way that does not help businesses. that is a large part of our financial -- >> you have listened to president obama offering a campaign that rich people have to pay more. if he is reelected, what will happen? one side or the other will have to cave. >> i suspect taxes will go on upper income people. this definition of which includes me, which sends me into laughter. i am not sure what rich means. he is. i think taxes i pay should rise but they should be more rational.
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i now pay a 15% on capital gains, but 22.5%. because of the crazy workings . my accountant gleefully informed me of something that was written wrong. he told me i am in the phase-out brackets of the alternative minimum tax. if i can only get one run of $50 thousand income -- $150,000 income. i have written about the stuff forever. i do not understand my own taxes. i have to have an accountant. i cannot understand the return. it is completely crazy. 20% of capital gains will not kill anybody. i treat capital gains and
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dividends the same way i treat income from work. i would lower the rate on everything by broadening the base. >> what do you think will happen and is the country better off that everybody is collected from the same party or are we better off having it? >> that is a good question. in the current situation, we are better off with divided government. the reason i say that is that when you get legislation that passes only because one party controls everything, it is not stable. the great example in this is the affordable care act. obamacare, as some call it, was enacted without a single republican vote. democrats controlled both houses of congress. the problem with that is business people who have to make
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plans look at that and say, if it only passed because the democrats had total control, then if after the election the republicans have control, they have promised to repeal it. this is the largest ever regulation of the largest sector of the largest economy on the planet. this idea that it will either stand as the law of the land or disappear completely is paralyzing for businesses. it is so much better if we can have divided government and have them agree on something. which they may finally be forced to do. >> did you have trouble getting your editors at "fortune magazine" to except this article? >> no. no objections at all. i was surprised.
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basically, the boss trusts us and has some idea of what we're doing. if you think of our conversation we have had today, there is something in your to annoy everybody. that was the whole point. >> a last point i want to ask you about is number 9 on my list. "the biggest corporate tax expenditure by far is the deferral of tax on income earned by multi-national broad." explained. how does it work? >> the way it works, to the extent i understand it, is if you are general elektra can you make money in germany, you do not pay u.s. taxes on those german profits until you bring the money back to the in united states. it sounds rational and ok. what has happened is things are so complicated now that
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companies in event, big, tie- national companies, invent subsidiaries in all the parts of the world and apple does this and google does it and cisco. they invent the subsidiaries where the profits are supposedly made in some tax haven where the company has and youbut a lot forirm do not pay tax. this is the only thing we could not reconcile. i think if you adopt the idea that you continue to defer taxes overseas, that no american company will ever report earning a penny in the united states because they will set up all this crazy stuff. problem> the for the is if they would pay u.s. taxes if the money were brought in the united states, and the tax rate
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is the highest in the world, then they do not bring the money back into the united states. they are constantly being accused of doing all of their investment and hiring and so forth in other countries. part of the reason is they are ized to bringentive vic the money back. we agree the current system is nutty. we have differing views, which gets to be technical. >> i know this was not meant to be a political article. let me ask you this as a guide to people who are trying to figure out who to vote for. will it make a difference? what will that difference be if you elect mitt romney or barack obama? >> what is a definite difference? in relation to this conversation?
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>> i will not go there. i need to live. also tell me who will be in the senate and who will be in the house. you will tell me all of these things. >> when we discuss this election, no one ever factors and the house. they only talk about the president. >> i do not. i am working on something about how little the president has compared to what people think he has. it is really not a question of who wins. it is a question of whether people grow up picture. maybe they will because they know they need to and parties will restrain the zealous and grow up and act like grown-ups. it has nothing to do with wins and loses. voters will elect these guys. the people who are going to do this. the voters do not do it.
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the people do it. >> are the people saying to these elected officials, this is what we want you to do? >> there is a large element of that, i fear. we want definitely some of the voters to grow up. and realize that someone who was willing to go to washington and compromise is actually what we need. when you ask what will be different depending on who wins, one thing we can say for sure is if the republicans sweep, which seems highly unlikely at this point, but if they sweep white house, senate, house, obamacare would be repealed. mitt romney and the leaders of both houses on the republican side have pledged that they would do that. it the republican sweep, they would have a vote. presumably, that would happen. beyond that, all we can say with regard to the presidential
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election is what would change is what is proposed by the president to the senate. that certainly schist the direction of the debate. what can actually get enacted, assuming we have divided government, which i do believe is the likeliest outcome, i would not even venture to guess. >> i think even if what you say happens, unless the republicans have 60 votes in the senate -- if they do not, the democrats -- and you will not repeal obamacare. it will not happen. you will have gridlock in the other direction. because now, it is no longer, the other people will have the majority and we need to respect them. it is, what can we get an export? the whole system is not. >> but me ask you about a tax
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cut does not get discussed much. the -- there is a 4.8% tax, an additional 0.9% on your medicare tax. when does that, if you combine it, it is almost 5% increase without reversing of the bush tax cut. >> it is a substantial tax increase. >> for people like us with substantial incomes. >> i am the tax cut. the part of that i would endorse is the increase in the medicare tax. it is on pleasant and it is unpalatable. that is step one. >> what will the average person pay for their medicare tax a
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month for how long and when to get the 0.9% added? >> it is a good question. >> is added after one to $25,000? >> i think it is added after $200,000, or $250,000. i am not sure. right now, the medicare taxes 1.45% on all of your salary income. it would go to 2.35%. >> both sides talk about the $750 billion savings. [laughter] who is right? >> we had both become incredibly frustrated. it has to do with the way this is talked about in washington. it has nothing to do with what
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real people talk about with real money in their lives. the current projection is medicare spending would increase by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years. so the obama plan said they would bring to that figure, they would bring the growth down by $700 billion. only in washington is that called a cut. the amount spent would still be more than is being spent today. but it would not be as much more as previously forecast. >> there is also no guarantee the cut would actually happened. it is just a projection. so we are having an argument -- the obama people, to make the affordable care act look better, saying, here is all this money. it is not that they are proposing to cut medicare. they are saying the things we have done cut it. who knows?
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>> we will spend less than we believed we would have spent otherwise. but it will still be more than we are spending today. this is why you cannot talk about this issue. people's eyes glaze over. understandably so. the graphic in the washington post shows the elephant and adopt the back-to-back in the ring. >> in diapers in the sandbox. >> be in little kids. >> went up -- what item did not go in your article because he did not agree on it? >> that is a good question. >> nothing. >> we said we could not agree on the tax reform. i think that was it. we tried to get more detail, then who knows. we do not have a staff and we did not have 500 pages. we did not get very detailed. >> allan sloan, if you were
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running for office, would you say all this? >> yes. it is one of the reasons i would never. >> you will lose. >> i will not say something in public -- >> what is the saying about? you have both alluded to the fact that it has to be said. what does it say about our system? >> people on both sides pander and are not telling people the truth because they think people are not ready for the truth. they tell people the truth, they will not win. >> it is a problem in the culture. fundamentally, that is what it is. you cannot fix this with a lot. it is a problem with the culture that compromise is now a synonym for treason. >> you close this article by writing, "as the economy cries out for help, for adult supervision, at last, just maybe the moment has arrived." what chance on a percentage tbasis that the moment has
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arrived? >> the chance that we will get a big, long-term reform, big picture reform, in the next congress in the next two years, 20%. >> what is the right way to pronounce your last name. -- ? >> colvin. . geoff has thought about this more than i have. i would take his number. .> thank you very much people can find your article. "fortune magazine." early september. thank you for joining us. thank you for joining us.